Accepted Paper:

A new paradigm for patient safety in Africa: a case study of the rights-based approach in communities by the People's Health Movement in Uganda  


Linda Gibson (Nottingham Trent University)
Pauline Odeyemi
Denis Bukenya (HURIC/People's Health Movement )

Paper short abstract:

A new global paradigm in patient safety is emerging which harnesses community and civil society organisations involved in the right to health. Analysing the experience of the People’s Health Movement in Uganda this paper will explore the challenges and opportunities for such groups

Paper long abstract:

Patient safety perspectives in Africa have become a key focus of the international health community. Many of the initiatives, however, embrace a vertical 'top down' approach focused on the hospital sector that engages operational and bureaucratic interventions. This paper argues for a new paradigm in patient safety that operates on an inclusive, horizontal level embracing concepts of upstream interventions and harnessing community and civil society organisations.

Authors from the Global South are vocal in the need to develop radical development approaches and criticise mainstream approaches of 'conceptual conservatism'. A new paradigm of community health and participation is emerging, not least in creative responses to these issues within Africa itself. The People's Health Movement (PHM) is one such group: a global South network bringing together grassroots health activists, civil society organizations and academic institutions from around the world, particularly from low and middle income countries (L&MIC).

This paper considers the experience of PHM Uganda of the challenges and opportunities for civil society networks and groups that represent the most vulnerable in society. Government intervention is often ineffective because of gaps between provision and access of services. These gaps, such as a knowledge deficit on the part of the consumers and communication deficit on the part of service providers at all levels, is the centre of the problem. It is argued that community involvement, education, mobilization and participation in health development is crucial in these communities. Their role is analysed using a rights to health based model.

Panel P129
Health and governance in sub-Saharan Africa